The persistent survival of Jewish hopes

By ELAINE MARGOLIN
November 15, 2017 19:24

Simon Schama reveals some basic truths of Jewish history.




‘EXPULSION OF the Jews in 1497,’ a 1917 watercolor by Alfredo Roque Gameiro.

‘EXPULSION OF the Jews in 1497,’ a 1917 watercolor by Alfredo Roque Gameiro. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Don’t be fooled by Simon Schama’s contagious exuberance. Beneath his zest for life lies the confessed feelings of an outsider and a bewildered Jew.

His new work, The Story of the Jews, Volume Two: Belonging, 1492-1900, is spellbindingly good. Schama understands that history is best told through a series of glimpses at individual lives that reveal deeper truths about the conflicts and troubles Jews faced at various times in their history, as well as the compromises and sacrifices they were forced to make.

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